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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Do you know what bubble tea is?

It is often brightly coloured, sometimes served with milk, with a layer of jelly-like globules - tapioca balls - that settle at the bottom of the cup. Drunk through an extra thick straw with a spoon-shaped tip, it is a mouthful of tea and chewiness - both a drink and a snack,

Chorley in Lancashire got its first bubble tea bar in July. Huddersfield has Bubble n Shake, there is a mobile bubble tea van in Bristol, and it can be found in cities from Glasgow to Portsmouth.
"It's chewy and odd," says restaurant critic Marina O'Loughlin. "It's slippery and strange, but weirdly more-ish. I love the way it comes with a flat straw so I can scoop out the balls and they plop into my mouth."
Bubble tea hails from 1980s Taiwan. It was an evolution from the country's street tea vendors who began experimenting with fruity flavours and colour to entice customers. The "bubble" actually refers to the froth on top of the drink which comes after it is violently shaken - some cafes use a machine especially for shaking.

Step-by-Step Guide:

Homemade Bubble Milk Tea

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
For the tea
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 black tea bags (such as Lipton or Hong Kong style loose leaf tea)
  • 4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk or 1/2 cup regular milk
For the boba
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ cup dried tapioca pearls, quick cooking / 5 minute variety (purchase online or at Asian supermarkets)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
Step 1: Make the tea

One of the main components to making milk tea, choosing what type of tea to use for your base is just as important as making the boba. If you have a healthy bubble tea addition, it may be best to make a larger batch of tea so that you have it ready for future batches.
  • In a small saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat once boiled.
  • Steep bags of tea in the hot water for at least 15 minutes. Once steeped, remove tea bags and chill the tea in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Step 2: Make the simple syrup for soaking the boba
Bubble tea can have the reputation of being cloyingly sweet. To adjust the level of sugar, whether you prefer just a hint of sweetness or a more dessert-like drink, simple syrup allows you to make it perfect balance for you.
  • In another small saucepan, boil 1 cup of water and both types of sugar until a syrup forms and the sugar is dissolved, about 2 – 3 minutes. Set aside for the boba.
  • You can add a couple of tablespoons of the leftover simple syrup to sweeten the bubble tea as well.
Step 3: Cook the Tapioca Pearls
No one wants to bite into too-hard or too-mushy tapioca pearls. The black orbs found in bubble tea need to have just the right amount of chew to them.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring at least 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the dried tapioca pearls and boil for 7 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 7 minutes.
  • Drain the bubbles and pour them into a bowl. The texture of the bubbles should be soft on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside with some give.
  • Add 1/2 cup of simple syrup to the drained cooked pearls and allow to soak for at least 15 minutes before using.


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